Friday, July 3, 2009

Why write when others write?

A few things catching my eye ...

Bishop Alan's blog picks up on some posts re the Church of England, including a fulsome citation of Kelvin Wright's post on 'Anglican' ... but read right through to the end to pick up the custard flavour - you will see what I mean - of a third post to which Bishop Alan draws attention.

Our debates do get sterile ... one debate with definite possibilities of that happening is the one in the C of E between Fulcrum and others. See, for example, this response by Charles Raven to Andrew Goddard's Fulcrum article (see below) about the forthcoming FCA meeting. Both Charles and Andrew write well, offering insight and much to ponder. But is it ultimately sterile?

UPDATE: an excellent response to Charles Raven has been posted by Fulcrum. Here's an excerpt:

"Our aim as Fulcrum is two-fold. We look for evangelicals to move away from the margins and evangelical ghettos and to work within and be central to the Church of England as a whole. We believe that this will renew its doctrinal and missional centre which is essentially evangelical. We also look for the renewal of the centre of evangelical Anglicanism as expressed in the CEEC basis of faith. Raven’s vision of what is necessary for “spiritual integrity” unfortunately suggests that FCA is committed to quite the opposite trajectory: a distancing from the Church of England and a narrowing and marginalising vision of evangelicalism."

That concern to move from the margins and the ghettos to the mainstream of the church's life is my concern. In every generation, it seems, the ability and willingness of evangelicals to do that is more absent than present.

Finally: recently I posted on a 'secret' theology commission of TEC causing a bit of stir. Today prominent blogger Lisa Fox has revealed the names of the commission.


Janice said...

Our debates do get sterile

They can be, but that's what can happen when people are emotionally involved in the ramifications of whatever the debate topic is. It can stop being about discovering the 'truth' and can become about how the decision might stop emotionally involved individuals from getting what they really, really want. Then rationality ends and abuse, however mild, begins.

I was interested to see that Raven admitted that loss of the right to keep church property was a factor in why the FCA did not, "set out with the primary purpose of separating from the Church of England". That's what I thought but didn't want to say, outright, in case I was judging too harshly their desire not to be seen as schismatic. But there you go. We're all sinners.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Janice for spotting that bit about property which I had missed!

Anonymous said...

'Fulcrum' didn't really answer Charles Raven, it mainly denied his charges.
IIRC, 'Fulcrum' itself came into existence in 2003 as a reaction against trends in leadership among English evangelicals. It was basically a pro-WO, pro-Rowan Williams organization. I only know it through its website, which has about 10-12 regular contributors, including a Unitarian and retired gay minister. Most of them seem to support homosexual relationships, despite the "official position".
It publishes a long pieces by peopel like Andrew Goddard and Tom Wright, but I don't think it's much more than a social network group for a few liberal evangelicals. It aspires to leadership of England's evangelicals but it doesn't seem to have won them round.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
I am not quite sure how Fulcrum (the committee and not the commenters) can be describe as 'liberal evangelical' when they are conservative on homosexuality matters.
I think the response to Charles Raven did more than deny the charges: it posed the important question, are we (evangelicals) going to be faithful immersed in every part of the church's life, or scattered to the margins and/or restricted to the ghettos ... It is important to find ways to support those who are on the margins, and those who, for whatever reasons, find themselves living in ghettos - FCA may serve a useful purpose in that respect. But it is also important to find ways to be at the centre of the church's life - FCA and Fulcrum talking together, rather than at each other, might serve a useful purpose in that respect.

Anonymous said...

Peter, now I've read Tim Harris's posting & it puts it better than I can:

He makes an excellent point about Tom Wright's browbeating fusillade against 'Pierced for our Transgressions' and the rather patronizing tone of some commentators ('Trust me, we're from the government'). I stopped reading 'Fulcrum' months ago, finding 'The Ugley Vicar' a more interesting and more orthodox commentator on the English scene. 'Fulcrum' was established mainly as a protest against Reform's influence among English evangelicals. (Something that could never have happened in the US, as most evangelicals left or were eased out of Tec years ago.) It was against Gafcon, ACNA, and now FCA. Fine, it may say as it wishes. But what is it FOR? The Established Church, dioceses and bishops, and the stubborn belief that North Atlantic/Aus/NZ Anglicanism will e v e n t u a l l y get back on the (sort of) orthodox train - even as most of the post-ers on 'Fulcrum' are edging to adopt the revisionist package themselves. Heck, even Bishop Graham Kings, that man so fond of hydraulic and glacial metaphors, thinks it OK now to refer to the Holy Spirit as 'she'.
Maybe all this shows the tragedy of Protestantism, but also its glory. I don't depend on any man but Christ Jesus to be my mediator with God. I respect and love earthly leaders, but not uncritically, and when I lose confidence in their fidelity as minsiters of the Word of God, I won't follow.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
I too have read Tim Harris' comment on Fulcrum.
Something needs to improve in the Fulcrum/Mainstream/FCA/Reform relationships ...
It is good being a Protestant, but it's important to keep an eye on oneself lest one ends up in a church of one :)